I’m over it…last Wednesday’s hard-to-swallow “loss” to the Red Sox, that is. I’ve no doubt that game was responsible for the ensuing migraine I suffered with for three days. To all the Red Sox fans who so nobly pointed out that 1, bad calls happen in every game…sometimes they favor your team and sometimes they don’t, and 2, my boys gave up the game in the 6th inning, I must point out that if those calls in the 9th had gone the other way, I could’ve been saying the exact same thing to you (just substituting 7th for the 6th inning). But I have no interest in reliving the game (or the headache) any further.
Say what you want about Angels players. Fans will always “dis”, talk smack and complain about players…whether they play on opposing teams or their own. But when I hear derogatory comments about our “skipper” Mike Scioscia, I’m not going to keep quiet. No one (or two or three) players can be credited with the success of the Angels in the past seven years. The 2002 World Championship was won prior to Arte Moreno purchasing the team from Disney. The turning point for the franchise undoubtedly came when Scioscia took over as manager. He has the ability to make the most of a player’s talent, whether he’s a rookie or a seasoned veteran. He has a gift for maintaining competitiveness, harmony and real sense of teamwork that is evident every time the Angels take the field. He also if the most even-keeled manager I’ve ever seen. I’m sometimes in awe of how he can keep his emotions in check even when total chaos is going on around him.
Angels fans wonder how he manages to keep his composure and to be honest, sometimes we wish he’d have words with officials a little more often than he does. But others disagree. I’ve heard him called a “whiner”. I recently read (and I honestly can’t remember where) that Scioscia has almost been ejected 16 times this season. Almost been ejected?? How exactly is that conclusion reached? Does the author of that statement have some kind of telepathic powers to read the minds of the umpires?
As for Scioscia making a remark to home plate umpire Rick Reed as they departed the field after Wednesday night’s game, I don’t care how professional or disciplined you are, I would have questioned Scioscia’s judgement had he NOT made a remark. Sox fans would’ve expected at least that much from Terry Francona, I suspect, had the situation been reversed.
I can understand the animosity fans have for certain players. I’m guilty of that myself (just a few…AJ Pierzynski, Jose Guillen, Vicente Padilla). But why is it so difficult for fans to give other managers the respect they deserve? Is it that hard to give credit where credit is due? This hasn’t exactly been an easy season for the Angels. They’ve overcome tremendous obstacles. Without Mike Scioscia at the helm, lesser teams would have fallen apart and never been able to pull together and recover to claim first place in their division. I don’t know how the rest of the season and the post-season will play out but I do know Scioscia is manager of the year material. There’s no denying that. I’m not saying Mike Scioscia is some kind of saint (no…he’s an angel…ha!) but he’s a class-act who has had a tremendous impact on the team and baseball in general. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, we see Scioscia’s brand of small-ball being duplicated all over the league. His influence is wide reaching, and rightly so. He knows what he’s doing. Period.
Speaking of giving credit where credit’s due…Joe Girardi’s Yankees had a shaky start this season and trailed the Red Sox by 3 games at the All-Star break. Of course, the “mack-daddy” lineup Girardi has to work with is even more evidence of a manager’s vital role in the success of a team. You’d think a crew made up of the likes of A-Rod, Jeter, Tex, Swisher and Matsui would be able to win games just by merely taking the field. But alas…it doesn’t always work that way, as the Yankees once again discovered in Anaheim Monday night.
Andy Pettitte had a pretty decent 6 inning outing for the Yankees. Joe Saunders had a better 8 and 1/3 inning go of it and reluctantly left the mound with one out in the 9th. The Yankees scored their only 2 runs on solo homers by A-Rod and Matsui. Kendry Morales had his solo HR as a pinch hitter in the 7th. The Angels’ 4 other runs would come from the usual piecing together of a few hits (Vladdy had 2 RBIs) and a Rob Quinlan walk. While the Yankees were finally able to conquer the Red Sox this season, I don’t anticipate the same thing happening against my Angels. The Yankees came into town needing just one win to clinch their playoff spot. Their best bet of that happening is with a Rangers’ loss because, well…they’re playing the Angels… in Anaheim! And we all know how that story usually ends.
So, we know that the Yankees’ magic number is 1. And now, the Angels’ is 6. Any combination of Angels’ wins and Rangers’ losses will secure a spot for my boys in the post-season. Considering this is the Angels’ last home stand before the end of the season, It would be nice if they could clinch at home. Then again, if they have to duke it out right up to the end and possibly carry some momentum into October, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Clinching early and having some “resting” time hasn’t always worked out for the Angels.
I’d much rather see them stay on their toes.
Baseball…vitalizes body and mind.